In the latest instalment of our 2020 Back to Work Tips series, Sandy Scott CEO of Volo Commerce considers how you could grow your business by 5 or 10 times in 2020 and what that would look like.
Over the past few months, Sandy has been visiting dozens of Volo Commerce customers and shares real life insights from businesses who are already successful and reveals how to prepare for massive growth.
Feeds Are Your Seeds to the Kind of Growth that Scales
“What would this look like if we increased the volume by 5 times? 10 times?”
At Volo we often get requests from our customers to help them launch onto new marketplaces and territories. We love to see our customers growing and expanding into new regions. Before diving in, however, we like to check that they’re able to support the management of more SKUs and a greater volume of orders. That’s why we think the question I started this article with is a good one to ask.
No-one wants to be a busy fool. You want to avoid a painful expansion process that stretches the the limits of your back office processes as you grow. You need to be set up in a scalable manner so that adding even more territories and marketplaces becomes a simple, repeatable and timely process.
The key factor to scaling is leveraging automation and maximising your use of data feeds. Think of all your manual processes: from launching and revising listings to managing orders and stock availability to picking, packing, dispatching across multiple channels and geographies. Your required effort will only increase with growth, and in a linear way if you’re working manually.
Here are 5 areas of your business where automation, in the form of API or feeds, can help you scale your growth 2020:
Do you have a Product Information System or Content Management System? Integrate them to your listing platform with feeds or API to create new SKUs automatically. If you can ensure that all data points required for each listing are included, then you can even automate the process of launching the products onto channels.
As with launching listings, consider how you can automate listings revisions. The most common revisions will be stock levels and pricing information. It’s definitely worth exploring how you can automatically react to price change requests, for example a price change from a supplier.
Pick, Pack & Dispatch
This is traditionally quite a manual process, yet there’s still much potential for automation, though this isn’t strictly a feeds thing. Its worth investigating the automated printing of pick lists and invoices, and using barcode scanning to scan goods into packages to trigger events such as order dispatch updates and label printing, as well as to reduce the risk of packing errors and costly returns.
Do your suppliers offer API or feed integrations? If so, then take advantage of them. These are great ways to automate the ingestion of product, stock level and pricing information.
Do any of your suppliers ship direct for you? Suppliers work with lots of sellers, and their stock levels are constantly moving. Ask them about their capability to update you by API or feed on their product catalogue, stock levels, order placement and other notifications so you can speed up your listing process, show accurate stock levels where you sell and stay close to orders and deliveries.
If you want to grow your business, don’t design for the day, design with scalability in mind, using automation tools like feeds. Design for 5 or 10 times the volume you expect and your business should fly. For more on the benefits of automation, register for this free webinar.